Welcome to Week 2 of the Eat the Rainbow Fruit and Veggie Challenge!
You made it a full week into our challenge!
As part of our challenge, I am asking you to keep track of your fruit and vegetable intake. At the end of each week, you can submit your intake via this form!
I don’t need you to track everything you eat, just when you eat fruits/veggies during the day. Use an app on your phone or a simple piece of paper with a pen. I often use this printable form to track my weekly progress. It should be pretty simple, but if you have any questions let me know!
Topic for Week 2
This week we are talking about…FIBER! Are you getting enough? Believe it or not – most Americans are not eating enough fiber.
What is fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods that the human body cannot break down and digest. While we do not absorb it, fiber still moves through the digestive tract and has some great health benefits.
Why is fiber important?
Here are the top 3 reasons:
1. Fiber supports healthy digestion
- By improving your digestion, your body is able to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat, and also eliminate waste products from the body efficiently
2. Fiber supports a healthy gut microbiome
- Your gut microbiome is all of the good bacteria that live in your gut – they help you digest food and also support your immune system. Fiber’s role in the body is to be food for the microbiome in your large intestine!
- Check out our blog posts on prebiotic and probiotic fiber to learn more about how fiber keeps your gut healthy!
Prebiotics: Fuel for the Probiotics!
Probiotics Part 1: Probiotic Food
Probiotics Part 2: Probiotic Supplements
3. Fiber has been shown to protect against disease
- The latest reports from the American Institute for Cancer Research show that each 10 gram increase in dietary fiber is linked to a 7% lower risk of colorectal cancer
- Fiber may also help prevent against other types of cancer, and also has other health benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, decreased blood pressure, and improved insulin sensitivity
Ok, so now you know that fiber is REALLY important – but how can you increase the amount of fiber in your diet?
Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in fiber, so a great place to start is by eating more fruits and vegetables.
Tip: If possible, don’t peel your fruits and veggies! The skin or peel of fruits and vegetables provides extra fiber.
Things like potatoes, kiwi, peaches and carrots can be scrubbed really well with a vegetable brush to get them clean before eating the skin! Obviously, there are some skins that are not edible (bananas, avocados). Please don’t eat those, haha!
Here are some easy ways to add in extra fiber to your day:
- Eat a banana with your breakfast – bananas contain about 3-4 grams of fiber per serving
- Choose an apple as a snack – one medium apple contains 4.4 grams of fiber
- Add some avocado to a salad or sandwich – one cup of sliced avocado contains about 10 grams of fiber
- Add broccoli to your dinner plate – one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 5 grams of fiber
- Eat plant proteins daily! Beans, nuts and seeds contain protein, phytochemicals AND FIBER!
Week 2 Challenge!
Try out one of the suggestions above to add more fiber to your diet this week – remember to take a photo and share it on our Facebook page!
Tip: When increasing fiber, make sure to also increase water! Drinking water will make sure that fiber can move smoothly through your digestive tract.
Produce Highlight of the Week: Raspberries
Raspberries are full of nutrients and fiber. Just one serving (about one cup) of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber- that’s about ⅓ of the fiber that we need for an entire day!
They are also one of the berries that has been linked to decreased risk of cancer due to their high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants.
Antioxidants remove toxins from your body and protect against harmful molecules called free radicals that can damage the cells in our bodies.
How to Use
Fresh or frozen. Fresh raspberries are delicious, but can sometimes be hard to find or expensive when out of season. Frozen can work well in most recipes!
Tip: Buy frozen raspberries to cut down on cost! They also last longer than fresh, and you can easily find them all year round.
This recipe is super simple, and since it is prepared the night before, it is a great breakfast for those mornings when you have to run out the door! It is loaded with fiber from the oats, chia seeds, and fruit. The fiber in addition to the healthy fats from the chia seeds and nut butter will keep you satiated and full of energy all morning!
Top with raspberries to give these high-fiber fruits a try!
- Yield: Serves 1
- ½ cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp chia seeds
⅔ cup milk of choice
1-2 Tbsp nut butter of choice (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc.)
Cinnamon to taste
Optional: add in a sweetener like maple syrup or honey to taste
- Fruit Toppings: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.
- Place all ingredients in a jar or other type of container
- Mix until well-combined
- Seal in the container and place in the refrigerator overnight
- The next day, remove your oats and give them a quick stir
- Top with desired fruit, and you are ready to enjoy!
The oats can be eaten cold or warm. To warm, place in a microwave safe container and heat for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, or place into a pot and heat over the stove to your desired temperature.
-Julie & the Interns